Geekly Update - 16 April 2014
Are clever monkeys building a network of mind-control robots? What would you pay for quasi-wireless, semi-mobile, cellular landline phone service? And guess who is snooping on your in-flight WiFi? Get answers to these burning questions, and the scoop on the latest tech news, in this edition of the Geekly Update. It's guaranteed to make you 146% smarter. Read, think and comment!
The AskBobRankin Geekly Update
If a monkey in North Carolina can control the movements of a robot in Japan using only its mind, why are you having so much difficulty with touchscreens?
AT&T is offering something called Wireless Home Phone Service that communicates via AT&T’s cellular network but doesn’t work with cellphones. However, it is mobile so they just call it a “wireless phone service.” On the other hand, you have to plug a wired handset into it. Confused yet? Oh, and if you want a detailed bill, even online, it will cost you $1.99 per month. Otherwise, it's "Just trust us and pay whatever we say that you owe."
From the Stupid Criminals File: An anti-Israel subgroup of Anonymous launched its annual “all out” attack on Israeli Web sites this week, with minimal success. An Israeli group calling itself Buddhax struck back, breaking into the hapless hackers’ networks to steal and post online members’ names, addresses, logon credentials, and even “mug shots” snapped through the victims’ own Webcams.
History buffs are drooling over the online publication of another 30,000 old photos from New York City’s Dept. of Records. This batch includes pics of the Hindenberg zeppelin crashing; the NYPD’s “Alien Squad” car accidents; airplane crashes in Park Slope; the demolition of the 2nd Ave. elevated train; and sundry other scenes of carnage.
Simplicity, one of Twitter’s biggest draws, is about to vanish from the social network. Soon you’ll get pop-up notifications every time someone replies, favorites, or re-tweets one of your Tweets. You can respond in kind. If too many pop-ups get annoying, you can fiddle with filters for the Web, email, and mobile versions.
Surprise! The NSA has been monitoring U.S. domestic inflight WiFi traffic in violation of privacy laws. Gogo, the leading provider of inflight WiFi service, admits in a letter to the FCC that it facilitated the illegal spying.
Matt Blaze, cryptographer and computer security professor at the University of Pennsylvania says of the OpenSSL security flaw: “It would not at all surprise me if the NSA had discovered this long before the rest of us had.” And with that, Wired.com is selling tin-foil hats.
Here’s a Mini Mobile Robot Printer that roams across paper like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, laying down ink. It weighs only 300 grams and measures 10 x 11.5 cm. If its Kickstarter campaign hits its goal of $400,000, backers will be able to buy one for just $180.
Failure to Nag. Escape From XP is a Web-based game designed by a Microsoft engineer, ostensibly to encourage stubborn Windows XP users to upgrade. But it doesn't run under IE8, the highest IE version supported on XP.
Jerk, LLC, a venture of Napster co-founder John Fanning, harvests publicly available Facebook images, names, and other personal information to create “user profiles” and label each one “jerk” or “not a jerk.” The Federal Trade Commission is alleging that Jerk.com misleads consumers into believing that such profiles are generated by people who know them, and that paying Jerk.com $30 will get your “jerkiness” status revised.
"There's no such thing as a $4 lunch, either." Among the top-selling apps on Google Play at $3.99 per download is “Virus Shield,” which does virtually nothing, yet soared past 10,000 downloads in a few days. Its icon changes to indicate that it is “scanning” your phone for viruses, but that’s all. Apparently, it was enough to make it through Google’s so-called vetting process until recently.
Post a comment now, or my robo-monkeys will read your mind and post embarassing stuff on Facebook...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Apr 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 16 April 2014 (Posted: 16 Apr 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved